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St Peter, Spixworth
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The nave and chancel appear all 14th Century, the aisle more than a century later - as Pevsner notes, it appears to coincide with a 1499 bequest for a south porch, but this was never built. The arcade between nave and aisle is also late 15th Century, suggesting that, unless the former church was demolished for the aisle to be built, tower and church were separate from each other for more than a century. There is an entrance at the west end of the aisle, an ununusual arrangement to say the least. Part of the churchyard has been set aside for walks, and on this February day it was full of snowdrops, a pleasant place to wander. And this is a very friendly church: a sign inside announces that you are always welcome here, whether you have faith or not. How lovely that is. They certainly expect visitors, because almost everything has a notice on it, explaining what it is, how old it is and what it is for.
The most exciting feature of Spixworth church is the memorial up in the tiny chancel depicting two life-size corpses in their shrouds - now, there's something you don't see everyday, either. The figures (represented naturalistically as dead - Pevsner) are William and Alice Peck. William died in 1635, a time of great piety, both Laudian and Puritan - the ornate pediment and elaborate Latin inscription suggest that the Pecks were of the former party.
A rugged Norman font is topped by a finely-carved modern cover in the Classical tradition. It remembers a mother and daughter who both died in 1967. Nearby are deposited the remains of William Feltom late of Sprowston. His inscription notes that the man whose memory this marble perpetuates performed the relative duties of a Christian with fidelity. Beside it is the church's large royal arms, plainly a set for Charles II, but recharged and relettered for George I.
Simon Knott, March 2009
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